As head of the Theology department of the Leningrad State Pedagogical University, Archpriest Oleg Bezrukikh has studied many different aspects of life in relation to the understanding of the Orthodox Church. One of his studies lead him to understand that, “When people unite in a family to help each other in the struggle against evil and prepare for eternal life, their family becomes a domestic Church.” In other words, when a family is operating correctly, as understood by Scripture, then it becomes a small church; a reflection of the larger Universal Church.
This process of becoming a small domestic church starts at the very beginning; as Father Oleg points out, “the sanctification of the household Church takes place in the sacrament of Marriage.” Continuing from there, “everything is arranged according to the pattern of the great Church. There is an iconostasis in the temple, and a home iconostasis is arranged in the family, before which all gather for family prayer. In the temple, the priest reads Scripture and bleses the congregation. And in the family, the father leads the prayers, reads the Gospel, and blesses the household.” In this way the father becomes an imitation of Christ and the mother, “in imitation of the Mother of God… becomes their lifelong inspiration to accomplish glorious and holy deeds.” finally, the fulfillment of this process is seen in the day to day living of the family;
Father Oleg even hopes that by establishing “the family as the domestic Church, we have the hope that by sanctifying family after family, clan after clan, the whole nation will be cleansed and sanctified.”